Wrong-way driver identified in fatal Merced County crash near Los Banos

The Merced County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office has identified a wrong-way driver killed in a multi-vehicle collision on Highway 152 in Merced County.

According to Merced County Sheriff’s Deputy Daryl Allen, the driver was identified as 49-year-old Los Banos resident Traci Marie Torres.

The collision occurred at about 1:56 p.m. Monday on westbound Highway 152 near Patton Road, between Dos Palos and Los Banos, the CHP said.

According to a California Highway Patrol news release, Torres was driving a 1997 Mercury Cougar east in the westbound lane of Highway 152 at an unknown speed.

Authorities said 51-year-old Clovis resident Cynthia Gallo, was driving a 2014 Honda Accord west approaching the Mercury at a speed of 72 miles per hour. The driver of the Honda then moved to the left and collided with the Mercury, according to the news release.

The Mercury then moved to the left and collided with a 2014 Volvo tractor-trailer traveling westbound in the number two lane driven by 35-year-old Manoj K. Sharma of Fresno.

Authorities said the collision with the Volvo caused the Mercury to split in two, and Torres was ejected from the vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the news release, Gallo was transported by helicopter to Memorial North Hospital in Modesto with moderate injuries and the driver of the truck was not injured.